We share Montana's story through our resources: art, books, artifacts, photos, and even buildings we've helped preserve.
German immigrant Anton Becker had great faith in Hardin’s future. Becker bought this lot on May 30, 1907, the day town lots went on sale. He soon constructed a two-story brick building, in front of which he installed Hardin’s first cement sidewalk. He and his wife, Katie, and their six children lived upstairs; downstairs was Becker’s Montana Saloon.
In 1917, the Beckers hired Billings architect Curtis Oehme to convert the saloon into a hotel, adding a third story and extending the entire building to the alley. Oehme’s design drew attention to the hotel’s canted entrance through a square tower decorated with pressed metal, a metal roof, and an ornamental flagpole.
According to the Hardin Tribune, the hotel, which cost $60,000 to build, included “a large lobby on each of the three floors, a barroom, dining room, kitchen and parlor … [and] thirty-eight handsomely furnished rooms, some of them en suite with private bath.” Ghost signs on the west and north walls still advertise rooms for “$1 up” and “$1.50 up,” respectively. Although Anton died in 1920, the hotel remained in the Becker family until 1954.
Cover image: Official records of the Montana State Historic Preservation Office, Helena, Montana.